Study: CEO Gender Pay Gap Still Prevalent in Nonprofit Sector

Collectively, the nonprofit sector appears to have a persistent gender problem in the area of CEO compensation. However, data for trade associations and professional societies, in particular, paints a slightly different picture.

Nonprofit organizations might be rebounding from the last recession, but they still have a wide gender pay gap, according to the 2014 GuideStar Nonprofit Compensation Report. GuideStar, a nonprofit that reports on the programs and finances of the sector, used its digitized database of IRS Form 990s filed by organizations in 2012 to conduct the analysis, released Monday.

All of this tells us that the social sector has a long way to go to meet gender equity in executive compensation.

The report, which looks at the entire spectrum of 501(c) organizations, found that for the 14th consecutive year, the median compensation for female nonprofit CEOs lagged behind that of their male counterparts by a significant margin: The average median pay gap was 17.2 percent but rose as high as 23 percent, depending on organization size.

“In 2012 … female CEOs made 11 percent less on average at organizations with budgets of $250,000 or less, and 23 percent less at organizations with budgets between $25 million and $50 million,” Chuck McLean, vice president of research at GuideStar and the author of the report, said in a statement. “All of this tells us that the social sector has a long way to go to meet gender equity in executive compensation.”

GuideStar also found that only 17 percent of organizations with budgets larger than $50 million have female CEOs, while a majority of groups with budgets under $1 million have women chief executives.

ASAE data reveals that the picture is a little better at trade and professional associations than at other nonprofits. According to the 2014-2015 ASAE Association Compensation & Benefits Study, which surveyed 484 501(c)(3) and (c)(6) organizations, female CEOs make 9.5 percent less on average than male CEOs, regardless of the organization’s budget. And the percentage of female CEOs at trade and professional associations has increased in recent years: Women made up 43 percent of the CEO population in 2014, up from 39 percent in 2008.

GuideStar’s report also found that continued economic uncertainty is has affected compensation increases for CEOs. In 2012, the median raise for an incumbent CEO was 2.2 percent.

“There was a greater median increase in nonprofit CEO compensation compared to 2011, which is possibly a sign that the economic conditions started to improve for nonprofits,” McLean said. However, “the median increase is still only about half what it was before 2008.”


Rob Stott

By Rob Stott

Rob Stott is a contributing editor for Associations Now. MORE

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